Initiatives for Ukraine around CIVICA – SNSPA: an example of civic engagement in support of Ukrainian refugees in Romania
In line with the CIVICA statement on solidarity with Ukraine, SNSPA, as an engaged university, responded to the real needs of Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
A stable and more robust social future depends on our present responsible actions, especially those activities valuing civic engagement. It is one of the three key action areas that define the pillars of CIVICA. Like in mathematics, where three points determine a plane, education, research & innovation, and civic engagement define the CIVICA alliance model for the university of the future.
SNSPA is one of the first universities in Romania to express its support towards Ukrainian refugees in our country. From the first days of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the university's management decided to make approximately 250 places in the university's dormitories available to refugees. Refugees had access to all facilities available to SNSPA students. In the first stage, over 170 Indian students studying at Ukrainian universities were accommodated ─ they were in transit to their country. We rejoiced when they returned home to their families safely.
In solidarity with the Ukrainian people and educational institutions in Ukraine, members of the SNSPA community, together with many university friends, mobilised and came to support these young people, offering donations and sponsorship and becoming volunteers, thus transforming university dormitories into a refugee reception centre.
Private companies and medical clinics, national and international NGOs, and individuals joined this initiative. They offered personal hygiene products, disinfectants or cleaning products, pillows, water and water dispensers, fruits, and prepared food for those accommodated.
"To support the activities with the refugees, the university hired in the administrative department a person from Ukraine," says Cati Alexoaei, SNSPA General Administrative Director, who coordinated all initiatives and activities.
Since March 2022, SNSPA dormitories have provided housing for 1,700 people: mothers with children, teenagers, young people, and students. The youngest were two new-borns, a 7-day-old boy, born on 26 February 2022, in one of the Kyiv subway stations, and a 20-day-old girl. There were donations for the little ones, such as powdered milk, bottles, sterilizer, tubs, diapers, blankets, and many other baby products. With the help of donors and partners, we have been able to provide refugees with hot meals, hygiene and care products, clothing, and medicines. In brief, continued Cati, "we wanted the refugees to benefit and feel that they live in a safe place from all points of view."
Ukrainian children housed in SNSPA dormitories continued to learn and play. They could enjoy games and toys for their age, colouring sheets, various supplies, illustrated stories for pre-schoolers, Ukrainian stories, songs, and poems. The reading room became a space for recreational and educational activities.
A young SNSPA student from the Republic of Moldova, a graduate of the National Pedagogical College in Iasi, acted as a teacher for the children. Together with SNSPA students from Ukraine, our professors and administrative staff prepared educational materials in the Ukrainian language. In addition, with the support of volunteers, theatre or origami activities were frequently organised. Our volunteers were as close as friends to the refugees who celebrate their anniversaries or Easter holidays.
Cati remembers that a volunteer said to her that he feels like he is doing too little of what he would like to do for the refugees. However, that little support offered when needed can change for the better for a single person and the society as a whole.
Therefore, "let each of us do his part!" concluded the SNSPA General Administrative Director.
The SNSPA robust community will remain in solidarity with these innocent people involved in an unwanted belligerent conflict. It is in our power to be with those who need help the most.
Written by SNSPA's editorial team